It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the black, the local bourse gained momentum, before surging ahead in the final two hours of trade and closing 0.7 per cent higher. The materials space rallied strongly following rises in commodity prices, with the likes of Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) closing almost 5.5% higher. Utilities and Energy finished the day in the red, after the oil price dropped overnight following OPEC’s monitoring meeting.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 39 points up to finish at 5,650.
The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 785 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were CSL Limited (ASX:CSL), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
On the futures market the SPI is 35 points up.
CIMIC Group Limited (ASX:CIM) has announced it has made a final unconditional offer to acquire all of the shares in Macmahon Holdings Limited (ASX:MAH) via an off-market takeover. CIMIC will acquire the Macmahon shares for 14.5 cents each. Macmahon is currently considering its response and has advised shareholders not to take action with respect to the CIMIC bid. Shares in CIMIC closed 1.14 per cent up at $34.50.
Atlas Iron Ltd (ASX:AGO) says it is on track to be in a net cash position by the middle of this year.
BlueScope Steel Ltd (ASX:BSL) has upgraded its earnings guidance by around 160% to $600 million for the six months ending 31 December 2016.
Oil Search (ASX:OSH) has sold a total of 7.93 million barrels of oil equivalent, which is a 6% improvement in its third-quarter sales results.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 2.65 per cent to close at 10,292. The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 0.26 per cent to close at 7,967 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL), rising 8.00 per cent to close at $11.21. Shares in Resmed (ASX:RMD) and South32 (ASX:S32) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR), dropping 2.99 per cent to close at $3.25. Shares in Dominos Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) and Isentia Group (ASX:ISD) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,217 an ounce.
Light crude is 39 cents lower at $US52.83 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7577.